Military life is a mobile life. And whether for temporary duty, deployment or a permanent change of station (PCS), you can expect to relocate regularly - sometimes on short notice. Being financially prepared can help you meet the challenges with confidence and ease the concerns of your family.
For married persons, one of the best ways to be prepared for any duty assignment is to make it a habit to discuss your finances and share financial decision-making responsibility with your spouse. Having your pay deposited directly into your bank account and automating the payment of recurring bills can eliminate headaches for your partner while you're away from home.
Preparing for Deployment
Because you never know when, where, or for how long you may be called to serve, keeping your finances deployment-ready is vital to your financial well-being.Having your spouse, a family member or trusted friend as a joint account holder can enable another person to make decisions regarding the jointly held account on your behalf, if you're unable to. Similarly, assigning durable power of attorney to another can enable your designee to make legal decisions on your behalf.
Each active-duty servicemember is eligible for up to $400,000 in Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) and may add optional spousal coverage of up to $100,000 and dependent coverage of up to $10,000. You may wish to considersupplemental commercial life
insurance as well. Take the time to review your insurance, benefits and beneficiaries with your spouse or other designee, and make sure he or she knows the location of policy documents.
Be sure to budget for extra expenses - child care costs, lawn maintenance, etc. - that you and your family may incur while you're away from home. If income taxes are due while you're deployed, decide how your tax return will be filed. You may be eligible to file IRS Form 2350 to request an extension.
Finally, if you deploy to a designated combat zone, some unique tax incentives and savings benefits may be available to you. A Combat Zone Tax Exclusion will allow you to exempt some of your pay from federal and possibly state income taxes. Servicemembers deployed to a designated combat zone can deposit a portion of their unallotted pay and allowances during their deployment into the Savings Deposit Program.
Don't let the financial uncertainties of deployment take an unexpected bite out of your finances. Be sure to build a sound financial strategy before your next move.
If you need help preparing your finances for a PCS Move or for deployment consult your on-base financial counselor, or visit Military.com's Money Channel.